Keats' Poems and Letters
The Role of the Self in Byron and Keats
The primary source of feeling comes from within the Self. At least, this is what Lord Byron's Manfred and "Lara: Canto the First" and Keats' "Four Seasons Fill the Measure of the Year", tell us. The implications of this are that once the internal Self has begun a process of inner torment, there is little in the universe of external circumstances that can do anything to stop or change that process. The ability of the Self to influence a person's general disposition and outlook on life can be stronger than man's ability to overcome it, and in a sense foregrounds man's association with himself, others and his environment. In the two works by Byron, we see examples of men tormented by some past memory that they can't seem to forget. In the work by Keats, we see a description of the mastery of the mind over its subject. It is the acknowledgment of the memory and the state of the mind which inform the actions of the individual.
The idea of a traumatic memory is something that is carried over in both Byron poems. In the case of Manfred, the main character is tormented by the ambiguous loss of a love. The memory itself is described without ever really being completely being fleshed out, as in...
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